Publisher Profile

2008 RMAF Coverage 8

A.R.T./AcousticPlan/Da Vinci/Audio Tekne/Gemme Audio/Ypsilon

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This portion of Dagogo’s 2008 RMAF Coverage by Constantine Soo

A.R.T./AcousticPlan/Da Vinci/Audio Tekne

In the confine of a modestly sized room, U.S. importer Tangram Audio’s Exhibit marked the convergence of technologies from Scotland (A.R.T. loudspeaker), Germany (AcousticPlan electronics/loudspeaker) and Switzerland (Da Vinci electronics/loudspeaker).

A new, more avant-garde looking loudspeaker from A.R.T., the Deco 10 Signature ($25k/pair) painted a very vast expanse of soundscape of orchestral passages, imparting a very high degree of tonal density to the listening experience, one that cast more focus on instrumental timbre than many other 2-way speakers did at the show. As driven by the AcousticPlan Santor power amplifier, the A.R.T. was also supremely apt in playing Sting. Amidst the immediacy most conducive toward acoustic instrument portrayals, as well as the very rare accompaniment of an affinity toward reenacting a full orchestra, the A.R.T. didn’t sound edgy or forward, a most admirable testament of the caliber of both the loudspeaker itself as well as that of the electronics.

▼A.R.T. Deco 10 Signature, $25k/pair

There also existed a mild, very minute degree of warmth in the lower to higher midrange that added a most palatable, appetizing magnetism to a wide variety of music. Yet, the A.R.T. displayed such tonal clarity that its was not of a colored presentation, not in the least bit. I listened entirely to the AcousticPlan Vadi CD player.

▼(top to bottom)
Da Vinci Preziosa preamplifier ($30k)
Da Vinci Preziosa 300B Line-Driver ($27k)
AcousticPlan Santor power amplifier ($12.5k)
Audio Tekne ALT-8905 AC Line Transformer ($3k each)

▼(right to left) Da Vinci Unison turntable ($27k, hand polished silver)
AcousticPlan PhonoMaster ($3.5k)
AcousticPlan Vadi CD player ($18k)

▼Da Vinci Unison turntable, Reference MC cartridge ($7.3k), Nobile tonearm ($7,750), Grandezza Grand Reference tonearm ($11,590 Luxury Rhodanized version),

▼left: AcousticPlan Vadi CD player ($18k), right: AcousticPlan PhonoMaster ($3.5k)

Right – one more for the vinyl Dagogo readers.

Gemme Audio/Ypsilon/Aaron

U.S. importer Cole Hatfield of Nawrocka Distribution arranged a diagonal listening position to the three pairs of Gemme Audio loudspeaker models in the hotel room, and one of them was the latest Katana ($15k/pair). Robert Gaboury, president of Gemme Audio also attended the show and was on hand to answer questions. Although Robert was meticulous and painstaking in his explanation of the respective strengths of each model, especially of the smaller Tantos 2.0 (meaning 2nd version) and Vivace 2.0, I felt the largest Katana with its more complete dynamic and output profile would soon prove itself to be the brightest star of the company’s product ever.

The system setup in this room was the simplest, comprising the Ypsilon CDT 100 CD player/transport ($23k), the Aaron No. 1a integrated solid-state amplifier with the WBT upgraded connector option ($5,500/$5,735) and a pair of Gemme Audio speaker. Although the room was the consistent limiting factor, the nearfield listening experience cast refreshing perspectives on the strengths and performances between the three Gemme Audio loudspeakers, while they bore witnesses in turn to the ever liquidity and tonal integrity of the Ypsilon CD 100 and Aaron No. 1a upstream.

▼(left to right) Gemme Audio Katana, Vivace 2.0, Tanto 2.0
Ypsilon CDT 100 CD player/transport ($23k)▼

Ypsilon CDT 100 disc chamber closeup▼

▼Aaron No. 1a integrated amplifier

▼(left to right) Cole Hatfield (Nawrocka), Robert Gaboury (Gemme),
Constantine Soo and Doug Schroeder (Dagogo). Short is good.

Von Schweikert/Oracle/VAC

Albert von Schweikert’s Exhibit featured his VR-9SE ($90k/pair) as driven by a pair of VAC Phi 200 beam power monoblocks, Renaissance Signature preamplifier, sourcing from the Oracle CD 2500 CD player/transport plus VAC’s Phi Alpha triode DAC. In the large Pike’s Peak room, the VR-9SE with its active 15-inch rear-firing bass driver as propelled by an 1kW onboard amplifier, plus two 8.5-inch magnesium mid-bass drivers on the front, reinforced the expansiveness of a full and reverberating soundstage. The 94dB/6Ω sensitivity of the VR-9SE made the speaker an ideal candidate for use with medium-power tube amplification, not the VAC Phi 200 beam power monoblocks that were on duty, although I was speechless on the very rich tonal textures emitting from the coupling. Attendees walked around the VR-9SE incessantly, as did I.

▼The infamous Von Schweikert Global Axis configuration of a rear-firing 5-inch ribbon super tweeter

▼The highly adjustable VR-9SE’s rear lower panel

Luxman/Vivid/Synergistic Research

Philip O’Hanlon of On A Higher Note, U.S. importer of Luxman electronics (Japan) and Vivid loudspeakers (South Africa) presented Luxman’s DU-80, the company’s top-of-the-line universal player, and the 590A II class A integrated amplifier in driving the Vivid B1 loudspeakers. The B1 was rated at 89dB/4Ω, and yet the 590A II was more than adequate to drive the loudspeakers to fill the medium-large Long’s Peak room on the Mezzanine.

Co-exhibiting at the Luxman Exhibit was Ted Denney of Synergistic Research, showcasing his latest Tesla Power Cell. The device’s active shielding removed certain unruly characteristics from the top-end and midrange of the system’s presentation. For $5k, the SR Tesla Power Cell certainly has potential to be adopted by many audiophiles.

▼The Luxman PD-444: A milestone in turntable design from the 1980’s. Philip’s own. A true museum piece.

This portion of Dagogo’s 2008 RMAF Coverage
by Constantine Soo

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